Continuing today in our series about budget or quality sewing tools. Can you have more fun, save time, or get better sewing results if you spend more money on your sewing tools or on all the extra gadgets and sewing gizmos.
In our previous articles:
- Your sewing machine – can you notice the difference?
- Seam rippers – ooh shiny !
- Sewing scissors – like a hot knife through butter
- Sewing storage solutions – some budget ideas for you
- Wonder Clips – should you buy the cheap ones?
- Applique pressing sheet – saves time
When I first started out, I bought this box of sewing pins at my local sewing store. Pretty cheap, about $2 for the box, just your standard economy pins. You can often find the same box in your sewing notions section at the supermarket – these are about as budget as they come!
They got me started, but I soon realised there is a LOT more to pins. For a start, these are OK, but they are pretty small, hard to see or easy to miss and therefore sew over by mistake, hard to find it you drop them on the floor, and while they do the job on most projects, they aren’t good for thick layers because they are too short, and well, they just aren’t nice to look at.
However they are good if you do a lot of hand-sewing because the thread doesn’t so easily get caught around the small heads and shorter length.
There are actually a whole variety of types of pins that you can buy. I only have a small selection, but you can buy specialty pins for different types of fabrics or for particular jobs. Such as these for use with silk (very fine indeed) and these double ‘fork’ pins for use in quilting or when design matching has to be done carefully to keep fabrics from shifting as you sew, such as with plaids.
Did you know, for example, that you can even get glow in the dark pins! Easy to find if you drop them, wait until night and go take a look around with the lights out.
Rather than reinvent the wheel and write a lot here about all the different types of sewing pins, here are some great resources where you can learn a lot more about all the sorts of sewing pins available:
- Dritz – wow, these guys make a lot of pins!
- Craftsy – the essential guide to sewing pins article
- Threads Magazine – pin rust test, specialty pins, discussion on pin sizes and lots more
- Sew 4 Home – good pin info here
- JoAnn Fabrics – handy 3 page PDF you can save with pictures of all different types of pins and what they might be used for.
I quickly discovered that having better pins makes sewing easier. I first bought these ball point pins for working with knit fabrics. The ball point pins aren’t so sharp, have more of a rounded point for slipping between the fibers of knit fabrics rather than piercing them. They are also a bit longer than the budget pins, have a larger head and are easier to see.
Next in my discovery of the range of sewing pins, I found these flower head pins. Much longer again, large colorful heads, easy to pick up, the longer length is great for thicker layers such as for bag making.
Watch out though. Any pins with plastic heads can melt if you iron over them, and the plastic can stick to your iron in a nasty burny way. (Not that I would ever do that of course – wink). Make sure to use glass head pins in any project where you might touch them with an iron.
When I’m not using my Wonder Clips, these flower head pins are usually my go-to solution. But of course we need something to keep our pins in, keep them close to hand and stop them dropping on the floor. Do you have a regular pin cushion? I went for a magnetic one.
I love how easy it is to just throw the pin the in the general direction of the magnetic pin cushion when I’m sewing and then the magnets automatically lie out the pins nice and straight. Or if I am at the machine and pulling out pins as I sew into a little pile next to the machine, just sweep over with the pin cushion and the magnet picks them all up and straightens them. No need to stick them into a pin cushion one at a time. I love this thing!
Of course its often fun to sew your own pin cushion or sew and swap them with a friend. Sounds like a great idea for a future round up article – great pin cushions to sew.
In the meantime here are a few to try.
And from this site, Scrappy Heart Pin Cushion